Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lessons from a Rotten Apple

It was supposed to be a fun evening.

Matt put Reese to bed while I turned our kitchen into a makeshift applesauce factory complete with peeling, cooking, cooling, and bagging stations. Rinsing the first batch, I imagined how we would turn up the music and sing and dance while we peeled and chopped. We would make “someday” plans for our unfinished basement, retirement vacations, and imaginary lottery winnings. We’d throw skins at each other and make a sticky mess and when the last bag was in the freezer, he would chase me back to the bedroom and we’d deal with the pots and pans and floors tomorrow...

His voice brought me back from my fantasy life-before-children evening.

“Do you toss the bad ones?” He asked as he took up his post at the peeling station. He held up an apple that had definitely seen better days.

“Just take out the bad parts. The rest is still good."

Just two batches in, our fun was interrupted by a faint cry down the hall. The hoarseness in Reese’s voice told me to brace myself for a long night as I washed my hands and headed for her room.

Making my way through the dark, I clipped my toe on her miniature rocking chair. I crumpled into a ball at the foot of her bed and tried to take deep breaths between stabs of pain. I forced myself to turn my attention back to my child. Snot ran down her face; her skin was warm to the touch. I scooped her up and carried her out to the living room.

“She’s sick,” I said. Matt stopped the peeler mid-apple.

“You’re bleeding,” he answered, looking at my foot.

I plopped down on the couch, unsure of which problem to solve first. Sick toddler. Bloody foot. Sticky kitchen. This was so far from the kind of evening I had anticipated.

Well, this night is ruined, I thought as the joy of the last hour began to give way to disappointment. But the thought died before it reached my lips and I resisted the urge to grumble about all that had suddenly gone wrong. Those things determined the course of my evening, not the quality.

Just take out the bad parts.

I turned my focus toward making things as right as possible. I wrapped Reese in a blanket, gave her some Tylenol, and handed her over to Matt. Then I hobbled to the bathroom to find a bandaid.

Limping back to the kitchen, I started peeling again where he left off. On the other side of the counter, he rocked in the recliner and she drifted off to sleep against his chest. I peeled. He rocked. She slept. Our eyes locked and we smiled at each other, our hearts speaking through the silence. 

The rest is still good.

Suddenly, the joy returned to the moment. Not the fun, giggly, lighthearted kind of joy I had anticipated, but joy just the same - a quiet, content, peaceful kind of joy.

Just take out the bad parts. The rest is still good.

This is a Bigger Picture moment.
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  1. The rest is still good... what an awesome sentiment.
    (and I daydream of those conversation with hubby... being playful in the kitchen... one of these days!)
    Hope your little girl feels better and your foot heals :)

  2. Wonderful lesson beautifully expressed!

  3. That quiet contentment can really be the best feeling in the world.

  4. Lisa ... for real. I just love that you gleaned that lesson for the words you'd just spoken. I love when He gives us those bites to chew on about the bigger picture. So well done, friend.

  5. "Just take out the bad parts." I love that!

  6. PERFECT! I do that too sometimes when things go off plan, and not how I expected I say "oh, now it's ruined." But I've learned there are still good moments even among the bad parts. You need to look deeper and find them, but there are still there.

    Thanks for the reminder. :-)